Running Windows 8 inside VirtualBox

Small step-by-step guide on how to install and run Windows 8 Developer Preview under VirtualBox.

First of all, download the 32bit edition of Windows 8 developer preview, available at Windows DevCenter, (the direct short link is – 2.8GB ISO image).

Create the Virtual Machine

While the ISO downloads, open virtualbox and create a new virtual machine:

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows, Version: Windows 7;
  • 2048MB Memory size
  • Create a new Virtual Hard Disk, with at least 20GB – you can use “Fixed-size storage” (better performance, but uses more HDD space) or “Dynamically expanding storage” (a bit slower, but the .vdi file grows as necessary, using less HDD space);
Before you boot the virtual machine, adjust the following properties, in the settings dialog:
  • In the “System” group, under “Motherboard”, choose the “ICH9” chipset, enable “IO APIC” and “absolute pointing device”; under “Acceleration” enable “VT-x/AMD-v” and “Nested paging”;
  • In “Display” enable 2D acceleration. Increase the video memory accordingly (~ 40MB);
  • In “Storage”, under “IDE Controller”, in the “Empty” node choose the new Windows 8 ISO file – this will be the Boot DVD;
  • In “Network” adjust the network settings: in my case i am using the “Bridge Adapter”;
Windows 8 under Virtual Box settings
Windows 8 VirtualBox settings

Install Windows 8

Boot the VM. It may seem that it is hanged at boot, but it is not, just be patient; 10 to 20 seconds later, the Windows 8 logo will show up and the setup will boot normally. The setup process, in the first stages, is pretty straightforward – virtually the same as Windows 7.

Windows 8 First Boot under VirtualBox

In my system the setup took about 25(!) minutes to complete.

Final Impressions

It’s not possible to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions, so the overall performance is not brilliant (no Graphics accel. is a big drawback…), but Windows 8 remains usable for testing purposes.

Specs: VirtualBox 4.0.12, running under Windows 7 64bit, Core2Duo 2.13.

Boot example on youtube:






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